Monday, 18 April 2011

The Big Economy Debate - the Scorecard in action

For the second week running the BBC punctured the sanctuary of our Sunday with an election debate. Out went the informal, laid back setting (and the illogical exclusion of Patrick Harvie) and in came the invited audience and their barrage of tough questions on the economy. Well, that was the idea.

The debate was structured around the following six questions:

1. Where will the jobs of the future come from?
2. How many public sector jobs will be lost by 2015?
3. Should Scotland’s tax raising powers be used to reduce taxes to bring companies & employment into the country?
4. How long can the council tax freeze continue for?
5. What would you do to encourage banks to lend to small/medium enterprises?
6. Was the £500m spent on the Edinburgh Tram project a good use of public money?

In the previous blog I explained how I would use my subjective scorecard/voting predictor to make the election debates more interesting and more helpful. It is specifically targeting floating voters (of which I am one) who will be disproportionately swayed by the TV debates.

So here it goes in alphabetical order:


Derek Brownlee (Conservative). Popular vote (read populism) = 1. Total Score = 5.

Patrick Harvie (Greens). Popular vote = 3. Total Score = 5

Andy Kerr (Labour). Popular vote = 1. Total Score = 5

Jeremy Purvis (Lib Dems). Popular vote = 1. Total Score = 4

John Swinney (SNP). Popular vote = 3. Total Score = 4.

If you end up with a number of candidates drawing, like I have, simply subtract the popular vote and you should have a clearer idea on who to vote for. According to my scorecard I should vote Conservative or Labour, a result I'll verfiy in the next leader's debate.


These are words I wrote during the debate when I didn’t give score a candidate.

Derek Brownlee = Concise yet distant (he doesn’t always connect as well as the others)

Patrick Harvie = Passionate yet stumbled (during the trams question)

Andy Kerr (Labour) = Prepared yet impatient(a little too eager at times to engage in ‘tit for tat’ politics)

Jeremy Purvis (Lib Dems) = Accessible yet abstract (during the question on future jobs).

John Swinney (SNP) = Authoritative yet nervous (during the question on future jobs)

A few points are worthy of elaboration. The results clearly show that the Greens and the SNP are outlining a populist agenda, but in different ways. The latter’s manifesto is an ideological successor to the successful 2007 manifesto; it is rooted in popular policies (e.g. freeze council taxes, maintain universalism etc).

The former is adopting an interesting strategy that combines their ever present strong focus on sustainability with a left wing economic populism that will resonate with many voters.

The other important point, which will be clearly illustrated in the next blog, is the consensus shared between the parties at Holyood. On job creation, income tax, small businesses, renewables and council tax there is a great deal of agreement.

Barry McCulloch
CSPP Policy Manager (but my idea alone)

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